The Legendary Pink Dots @ Revolver bar and grill, Oslo Norway, 16 October 2011

For a mere 100 Norwegian kroner (about $15) one gets to have their mind blown for 2 hours by one of my favorite bands ever equal to Hawkwind in my pantheon Top 5 of mystical and psychedelic bands with a long history: The Dots! I had never been to this tiny basement venue before, where upstairs there is a bar and a restaurant as well. Chez Dotz are always best experienced at small venues anyway and when entering the basement we paid a small sum at the door. The place was half full during the show, in other words about 30 people! My friend Jon Christian from the FM radio show I do showed up as well as I had sent him a phone message they were playing that night. He also recorded the show and I have to say it’s a top audience recording of a great show I’d gladly trade with others. Last time I witnessed the LPD’s was at Cafe Mono in Oslo in 2009 where they had the full line up with guitars and saxes. That show was fantastic like the one at So What! in Oslo in 1998 where I turned onto this amazing underground band who are mystically and esoterically so inclined to have been part of the 80s scene with bands like Current 93, PTV, Savage Republic and Swans, to some degree. But they are different! They are very psychedelic live, in a Beatnik collective way, and now, a trio with Erik Drost on guitar, a new member joining the band completing a trio with just singer / frontman Edward Ka-Spel, and synth druid The Silverman (aka Phil Knight). The sax player now having left along with old guitarist Martijn, and a new album out on the infamous NYC label ROIR, entitled “Seconds Late For The Brighton Line” celebrating 30 years of LPD’s in 2010, it holds up as a not bad testament to a band more prolific in releasing albums than Hawkwind and Gong put together, if one can imagine THAT.

The show itself was now stripped down to a trio, playing very krautrock sounding long jams, yet melodic, and heaps of electronic madness, lyrics improvised and spoken more often than sung, with Edward in his long potato sack (!) of a medieval robe and long red scarf and those small square 60’s sunglasses, slightly hunchbacked is very much a sight to see screaming at the top of his lungs “I WILL CALL YOU DAISY!” during that song that I always forget what it’s called, and staring demonically at the audience, picking out someone to sing to, like at the ’09 show I swore he sang right into me, staring at me, but this time it was someone else. Raymond Steeg, the band’s unofficial 4th member who tweaks their sound from the back, noticed my “Sonic Assassins ’77” T-shirt and we struck up conversation. Raymond said “I toured with the Hawks for 5 years!” and I said “Oh! Yes, you are Raymond Steeg! They just re-released “Distant Horizons” with a new mix, fully remastered!” Raymond goes “So it sounds good?” I was like “yeah, beefed up a lot more!”. He had been doing Hawkwind’s sound up till around 2003 on “Yule Ritual” as well, “Canterbury Fair” and “Distant Horizons”. So that night I met the Hawkwind/LPDs “missing link” Mr. Raymond Steeg!

The merch table at LPD shows is always a joy to peruse, and I snatched up an early rarity of a Dots CD, “A Prayer For Aradia” for the same price as the entrance ticket. The crowd was a mix of beardos, knot topped “monk” like fans, outside a guy in a Mayhem “Ordo Ad Chao” hoodie was telling his bearded friends that Edward of LPD was into Radiohead, a band I recently gave another chance since the early 90s 2 first times I bought a RH CD, when I did not become a fan at all. Much of LPDs more loop and industrial and electronic stuff could very well be a “krautrock” Radiohead only if RHs singer Thom Yorke did not sound like a cat in heat all the time, but to quote my friend Steve Hummell, on Edward Ka-Spel’s voice, sounding like “an English ninny”! Ha ha.. Last time I saw The Dots in Oslo in 2009 I chatted with Edward after the show and had him autograph a CD I bought at the merch stand. I remember wearing a Chrome tee, and he commented they were a band he had been listening to a lot over the years.

Overall the show was stellar, from the opening speech about cigarettes and lung cancer, set in the fresh mountain air of Norway with its fjords, how you needed another cigarette with such nature abounding to see and breathe. The show consisted mostly of material from “Seconds Late…”, on the album and live, repeating an old track “Hauptbanhof 2010″ to moderate success. It certainly is a signature song of the Dots and “Hauptbanhof” being recorded originally in 1980 for the early “Chemical Playschool” cassette series, repackaged in the “The Legendary Pink Box” double CD set, which comes highly recommended for starting with the early and best and most mythical and mystical progressive cult-electronica of the earliest LPD output.

Overall, this band is the most dedicated band to their core following and never put on a bad show or released a dud record. As their motto……. “Sing While You May!”.And Edward still sings after 30 years. Not bad!

By Christian Mumford

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